Private or public university? In state or out of state? Small or large campus? These are the questions high school students ask themselves every year. And with thousands of institutions to choose from, it can be difficult to navigate the college scene. Such is why, on Wednesday, April 6, PA College Counseling offered students in grades 9-11 the chance to attend a college fair, surveying those options in person, on PA’s own campus.

Hudson Kinne ’25 stops by the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point table to ask some questions.

For the first time since the pandemic, Providence hosted over one hundred college and ROTC representatives, including one international school: Franklin University in Switzerland. There were many activities for students and college representatives to participate in throughout the day. Representatives enjoyed lunch in the gallery, where they learned about PA’s mission from Headmaster Dr. Todd Flanders.

PA students also led tours and seniors offered panel discussions on life at PA. In the early afternoon, students attended breakout sessions discussing the college search for freshmen, applying for aid and scholarships, Catholic higher education, STEM programs, military options, intercollegiate athletics, fine arts programs, private universities, public universities, honors communities, and going into college with undecided, undeclared, or undetermined majors. The events of the day culminated in Gym A, where students and parents met with representatives individually and gleaned information about potential future schools.

College Counselor Mrs. Paige Von Bank explained, “The main goal [of the college fair] is to help our students become more aware of the many post-PA options and to help them start the college search discussions and process.” 

Indeed, the college fair gave students a diverse range of options to consider as they prepare to leave PA in a few short years.

James Herrera ‘23 shared, “I shouldn’t exactly narrow my search or hope for one college. Even if I did want to go to a particular school, that shouldn’t stop me from searching and looking into other schools.”

Dylan Perrill ’23 and Luke Wachholz ’23 meet with a representative for the University of Kansas to learn more about the school.

Furthermore, the college fair was a hands-on opportunity to better know what to expect for the discerning process and the college experience itself.

“I’ve got a better idea of what I actually need in a school,” Gabrielle Hippler ‘25 reflected on her first college fair. “I used to have this vague idea of ‘college’ and just figured the right school would come to me, but now I have seven schools to consider that all seem kind of ‘right’.”

Not only did the knowledgeable counselors and representatives make impressions on the students, but they also got to know PA students better.

“I heard from numerous college reps about how well behaved, polite, and inquisitive our students were,” Von Bank enthused. “This event made me proud of our students and proud to be a member of the PA community!”

After the exciting day of college searching, students returned home with pamphlets, widened perspectives, and plenty of food for thought as they get ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives.